Fill me up, Lord

"You will seek me, & find me when you seek me w/ all your heart," God says. But that is not the whole story. I'm not just a searcher. I'm also a hider. You too. We have to come face-to-face w/ our tendency to hide, to get lost. ~John Ortberg, Love Beyond Reason

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Shopping, Paul, & Passion

Okay guys, I had Snickers Salad, and it really sucked. I am highly disappointed. The best thing I can say about it is that it is better than licking puke.

I spent a LOAD at the Gap this weekend. And...I admit it....I put it on my credit card. (sorry) But, as a result, I am set for summer. So I won't need to clothes shop until at least October. Anyway, I started out at Banana Republic. I was feeling all good when a gay guy said, "Hey! I like your skirt"! (Ann Taylor, of course) He took about 9-10 of my items to put into a room. Well, I kept on shopping, and had about 6 or 7 additional things to try on. I went to look for my stuff....they couldn't freaking find it. I was so disappointed. And it's not like I wanted to take the time to go searching for all that stuff. I ended up buying a shirt there on sale. THAT's RIGHT FOLKS....on sale!

I terms of reading the New Testament, I read I&II Timothy over the weekend, and tonight I read I&II Thessalonians. If you want to know what you should be going on in your life, read about the church of Thessalonia. Or Thessalonitica? Smrf. I don't know, anyway they are an excellent example of how we are to live.

Also, I opened my Bible this evening to this chapter in I or II Corinithians...and came to passage where Paul talks about how in these days and times it is better for one to remain single.... I was like God, what are you trying to say here? What I am choosing to take away from it, is that God has a plan for me. And for now, it is to minister to others as single woman. He has particular work for me to do as a single, that a married might not have the time to dedicate. I have been praying for a long time in terms of knowing what this work is... in terms of getting involved with a ministry at church or elsewhere. (Of course, his work is for us to share about Him, and to show His love for others.)

You see, in my family you have to have "a cause" or "a passion". For my aunt, it is saving unborn children by way of volunteering a pregnancy care/crisis center. For my mom, it's missions: Haiti & India. My dad, well my mom has assigned him to her cause. And he willingly obliges.

I don't know what my cause is. I am not sure where my passions lie. I know every day I try to bring COMpassion to my job as I interact with my students. I know God has given me with certain gifts in terms of connecting and loving children in a kind and unique way. But is there something more? And not that I have to be DOING... because we don't have to DO things for God or for our salvation (it's faith alone), but I truly WANT to do more for Christ, out of love, and I am not sure what that is. I kind of want God to just drop it on my lap and say, "here ya go". But that's not realistic, and that's kinda scary too! I know I need to be investigating... and I have been.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Good Book

I was scrounging around looking for a Bible, and came across the first Bible I ever received. It was from my parents, and they gave it to me soon after I accepted Christ as my savior on October 21, 1981. Daddy gave inscribed Proverbs 3:5,6 on the cover which states, "trust the Lord completely; don't ever trust yourself. In everything you do, put God first and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success."

This Bible was an "Easy-to-Read Living New Testament for Kids with Psalms and Proverbs". It was a pleasant change to be reading the Living translation.

I read through I & II Peter. I know I have talked about this verse before but it needs repeating: "If you have tasted the Lord's goodness and kindness, cry for more, as a baby cries for milk. Eat God's Word -read it, think about it, -and grow strong in the Lord and be saved."

That's kind of what I meant by naming this blog "Fill Me Up, Lord". I want to be filled up with God's glory, grow into the fullness of my salvation; "Fill me up, Lord" is my cry to God, and the commitment I make to study the Word of God.

Well, this is my plan for reading the Word. It's not divinely inspired or anything, but I have little tolerance for reading lengthy books these days, so I am reading all of the short epistles in backwards order. For example, I read I,II&III John, then Jude, and now I&II Peter. Next I plan on reading Titus, Philemon, & I&II Timothy. So I will do this until I get to I&II Corinthians. Then I may stop & not read the Corinthians right away, but go back to the Gospels. This Bible reading plan is not available by Zondervan or Tyndale House yet, but I am working on it. Hee, hee!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Snickers Salad

An acquaintance says she makes this. I am intrigued.....
(And Cath, no we are not cutting up your dog...)

1 large tub of Cool Whip
1 large package of vanilla instant pudding
1 cup of milk (for the pudding)
1 bag of fun size Snickers or 3 super size Snickers, cut up into small chunks
3 medium size Granny Smith apples or other tart apple, cut up into small chunks

In a large bowl, mix up the pudding and then combine it with the Cool Whip. Add the Snickers and then the apples.

Note: Cut the apples after you have mixed the other ingredients so that they aren't brown when you add them.

-----------------------Part 2: Do you ever feel like you just need to be Jesus to yourself? Because that is where I am at right now people. Yes, yes, I need to get my focus on others and stop being selfish, but there is a point to loving yourself so that you CAN be loving to others. And claiming the fact that you are God's child and worthy, etc.

I guess what I am saying is....I need to show love to myself, and give myself grace. God doesn't even THINK you can be perfect!!! So don't worry! Don't perform! Of course, do respond to his love, but ya know... chill!

And you know what...this is not related, but I want to go get manicures and buy a new workout outfit. So there! (not sure where the animosity is coming from)Maybe it's not anomosity, just decisiveness, wanting to make changes, and hoping that manicures and a new outfit will inspire me? How sick, and yet I might just do it! I don't think it is necessarily self-medicating, but it could be inspiration to spur me on to greater things like not feeding the poor, but taking care of myself, and exercising and all that jazz. (I so don't want this to be a weight loss blog!!!)

Also, is there such a thing as a non-pregnancy doula? Because I might need to investigate...maybe I just need a hug??

Thursday, May 25, 2006

I need a mulligan/do-over...

Thanks to Jay, Claire, and Cath for keeping me accountable.
Well, okay this is going to sound weird but, because I posted my goals, I feel like I was MORE resistant to doing them!! I haven't completed ANY of them, but I still have the weekend, and I'm still have God's love and approval. This has been a high-stress wk. But the strange circumstances have to be a part of His plan, right? Agreed.

What are y'alls plans for Memorial Day? I have been invited to a picnic, but haven't decided for sure what I will do.

Monday, May 22, 2006


Challenges for this week:
*Finish reading I Peter
*Spend 5 minutes in silence & solitude
*Fast from television on Tuesday

For future consideration:
*Fast from e-mail

Please feel free to keep me accountable! Send me emails to see how I am doing!

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Faith Lost, Faith Found

I have lost my childhood faith, and gained something so much better. Within the past two years, I have developed a faith that is authentic, intimate, sufficient, steady, & certain. It questions and searches....

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Pepsi & Banking

When you are depressed, there's nothing like drinking a good, cold Diet Caffeine Free Pepsi. Or as my cousin Gretchen calls them, "No-No Cokes". (No sugar, no caffeine)

Totally off subject, can I tell you how MUCH I love paying my bills online? It is SUCH a pleasure, and I have now become one of those people who balances their check book at least 1-2x a day. It's crazy! I never even used to open my bank statements.

As I was looking through my check book today, I can't believe all the freaking $$ and TIME I am spending at Jewel and Dominicks! Like what the heck? I should buy stock! And I know not all of it is groceries, but I end up buying stuff for a party, or for school or something...must analyze and process....

I have a problem. Like, "hi my name is literacygirl and i am a compulsive credit card payor". Okay, so some of you know that I have this credit card debt that I am really striving to pay off. Okay, here's my time to be real and authentic with y'all: I went through a period where I didn't open my mail. I didn't even get my mail. I got warnings from the post office that they were going to stop all delivery even. I used to run up really high charges on my credit card, and then I wouldn't pay the co. for 3-4 months. Eventually, after they phone harrassed me, I'd make a payment. And, I would pay the amount in full! Well, then I stopped babysitting and quit my part-time job. I had no idea how this would affect my lifestyle. I never even gave it a 2nd thought. I didn't even know I had a "lifestyle". This economic change was about $6,000 annually. So, with the lack of funds coming in, and me not paying these bills, and I wasn't even OPENING my bills, or GETTING the mail, things finally came to a head. And I had to GET REAL as Dr. Phil says.

Okay, so now I really don't even use my credit cards. But I am still working on paying 2 of them off. I have made great progress on this over the past year. I paid one other one off, I am half way done with the other, and still have my DISCOVER which is the one I use in an emergency.

Here's where the confession comes in. I cannot WAIT to have this credit card paid off. Everytime I make a payment, I seriously get a rush and a high. I mean you have no idea!!! The problem is, I get super exciting about paying it off, and then I decide, "OOOOH, I should make an EXTRA payment!". And every once in awhile that is fine. But then I get a little crazy in la cabeza and start paying the card off with money I don't even have. And it's all online, so I am just clicking away. The feeling I get from doing this is so extreme....I feel like a compulsive gambler, I just can't stop. But I must (sigh).

Friday, May 19, 2006

Decluttering malice/deceit/hypocrisy/envy/slander

I Peter 2: 1-3
Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of any kind. Like newborn babies, crave spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.

Quite a bit there...
Through my e-mail conversations w/ my small group, it seems like we have been very intentionally about her time in the actual SCRIPTURES this week. I am so encouraged by that ladies! I appreciate the updates and the reminders.

So, I need to rid myself of all:
malice: ill-will toward others; for me this comes from jealousy/revenge;

deceit: LIES! I used to be a compulsive liar. I was so good at it!!! I need to remove the lies that I tell myself that are not true. I need to counteract them with God's truth. God's truth says that I am God's child, I am wanted, I am worthy, I am beautiful, I have gifts, I am chosen, & I am loved.

hypocrisy: I see this as Christians judging other groups of Christians for the way they worship and commune with God, and how they live out Jesus in their life. Or if one group is said to be judgmental or uppity, and then another group complains about this bitterly, then whose to say the second group is just has judgmental as the first group. Sheesh! Sin is sin. Call a spade a spade.

envy: not having the expected relationship; having to struggle w/ the thorns in my life; wanting someone else's life; I so need to remember that I have God's best. My selfishness and control say otherwise.

slander: not putting down people who have wronged you

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Be still & Know that I am God

Solitude and silence...something I like to read about. But to live and do and be? Eek. It seems so super-spiritual.

Silence can be deafening. To be alone with your thoughts, no distractions...
waiting for God, not knowing if He is there & going to show up, well, obviously he is, but sometimes we bring false expectations to the table as to what that will feel like/be like.

God is always with us. He will honor the time we give to him in silence. We as humans need to turn off our blinders, take off our burdens (lay them down people), and BE STILL! Stillness is different then just sitting back and vegging. It is intentional. (of course, I guess you could have intentional vegging out.)

But stillness is a commitment and a decision. It means being open to thoughts coming in and out, not judging, just allowing them to be. Sometimes focusing in on a scripture verse or lyric can be an aid in this process. More on this later...

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Charge: Be Ye Holy!

Okay. Time to reflect on the day.

Had a great drive to work this morning. My friend C made me a great Christian worship CD. (That is love -the receiving of a "mix tape"!)

Went to a worthless, pointless meeting today. Was frustrated when someone else was late and another person just skipped it because she was "sick". Gave the sickie a dirty look and ignored her later in the day....but because EVERY DAY is being Jesus, I apologized.

We are counting down the school days from A to Z. Today was "I" for ice cream. All day I heard, "When are we getting the ice cream???". "After lunch", I would patiently explain. (Well, as patient as you can be with 4th graders mid-May!) So at lunch time, I ran over to Jewel, and got those little sundae cups. I accidentally bought 12 too many! So, there wasn't enough for I went to other classrooms offering the to another teachers. But apparently, every teacher on my floor is on a diet. (It's bikini season, dontcha know.) SO...there are 2 teachers on my team that give their students tickets as an incentive for good behavior, excellent work, etc. They also can be taken away for various offenses. Where am I going with all this??? Just throughout the year teachers will auction off their "junk" to the kids -whoever is the highest bidder! So I had those two teachers auction off the ice cream. It was quite a hit!

Tonight was my roomie's small group dinner. Wow, can those ladies cook! And there is leftovers! It was nice to meet them. Some of them I knew from a previous group I was in. I almost skipped it. I was feeling sick and then just freaked out by it, but I managed to get my butt downstairs. It was nice to meet people my roomie talks about in conversation. They seem like a nice group.

I wanted to read I & II Peter tonight, but I just got to I Peter 1. I think there is a lot to think about just right there.

"Prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed."
Preparing -check.
Self-control -uh no not really.
Hoping on Grace -I have to ponder more.

What also strikes me is how apparent it is that God's plan of love and redemption is so evident from the beginning of time to the prophets and beyond. That is repeated several times through the chapter.

God is in control. He sees the big picture. We frankly do not. We are stuck in our little moment of RAIN. But verses 6 & 7 promises us greater genuine faith as a result, that will last.

It talks about being "filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.". Hmmm...yeah, I don't really have that. And I am not always sure how to access it. I think the problem is that I get stuck in my rain/grief/trials, and start the worrying and the fearing, and then I cry out, "WHERE's THE JOY???". The crying out is so loud, that I cannot hear God whisper,

"The joy is right in the midst of all this. Trust me. I will not take away your rain, but I will sit in the rain right with you. I can see ahead that there is place with no rain. And I will walk with you to that place. "

Joy comes from trusting God. Trusting God is a commitment. A daily decision that you have to live out. It's saying that God's plan is plan A. There is no plan B. (to borrow from John Ortberg's thoughts)

PS- The rain concept is from my guru Rob Bell. Don't worry my God is Jesus, but gurus are needed to teach and model.

Why do I question what God is doing? He is a pretty powerful, omnipotent being. But again, I think it is the lack of human understanding and the problem of being stuck in your situation that cause us (well me!) to lack trust.

But trusting God is so much better than worry and fear. I need to choose joy.

What do I need to do differently tomorrow?
Make sure I am ending the school year well. Have patience with my kiddos. Stop judging. Ha, ha like as of tomorrow all judging will be over.... to break it down... start thinking of others as equal as myself, and in other situations, think of MYSELF as equal to others. TRUST GOD. CHOOSE JOY. BE YE HOLY! No problem!

We must never forget...

I got this note from a parent today:

Dear Ms. Literacygirl,
J has read Number the Stars by Lois Lowry for her historical fiction book share project.  She has completed her speech and we have had some very thoughtful conversation about the book.  We have discussed meaningful book share projects, but in this case it seems that the most meaningful thing to do is to make a donation to the Holocaust Museum and have J discuss why she chose this (history tells us we must never forget) with the class.  I know this is not on this list, so I wanted to get your approval on this first.  We just had some very interesting talks because of this book, and I wasn't sure that presenting a word search was as meaningful. 
Mrs. A S

It's nice to see a book having a lasting impact on a family! Isn't that what reading is all about?

Number the Stars summary:
"How brave are you, little Annemarie?" Uncle Henrik asks his ten-year-old niece. It is 1943, and to Annemarie Johansen, life in Copenhagen is a complicated mix of ordinary home and school life, food shortages, and the constant presence of Nazi soldiers. Bravery seems a vague virtue, one possessed by dragon-slaying knights in the bedtime stories she tells her younger sister, Kirsti. Too soon, she herself is called upon for courage.

As the German troops begin their campaign to "relocate" all the Jews of Denmark, the Johansens take in Annemarie's best friend, Ellen Rosen, and pretend she is part of the family. Ellen and Annemarie must think quickly when three Nazi officers arrive late one night and question why Ellen is not blond, like her sisters.

Through Annemarie's eyes, we see the Danish Resistance as they manage to smuggle almost the entire Jewish population, nearly 7000 people, across the sea to Sweden. In this tale of an entire nation's heroism, Number the Stars reminds us that there is pride and human decency in the world even during a time of terror and war.

Reality Bytes

Tuesday morning: Wow. I'm tired from virgin blogging last night. I need to go to work. So, I think I am supposed to show love and light today or something like that. The reality is sinking in. Sometimes I'd rather just hibernate by myself at work. It's easier that way. Connection with others is risky!!

Tonight I'd like to read I & II Peter. But, my roommate is having her small group come for dinner, and I'm supposed to hang out and bond with them. Eek! Oh, and what about laundry?

Oh yeah....and being Christ to others...what will that look like today? I will have to report back to you later on.

Monday, May 15, 2006

1st entry, baby!

Words of the Week: pedantic, soteriology, dispensationalism.
I think I need a nap!
I am really on a high from lessons learned this weekend at my church's small group leadership conference.

Currently dealing with issues of forgiveness, atonement, gratitude, and BEING THE GOSPEL to others!

My goal this week is to continue to read Piper, Brennan Manning, & Search -but ALSO to read the REAL THING! No more regurgitated baby food, I need protein. (Sorry John and Brennan! I bet you understand though.)

Tonight I read through 1 & 2 John & Jude.
John just keeps bringing us back to the great love of God, from the beginning of time, through the atonement, to present day.

I am challenged to be a light in a dark, dark place.